25 replies
I've never been a trend follower, but I thought I would do well to learn about them. I am just curious: in your opinion, who sets popular trends?



I decided to make fashion and culture my goto case study..

From what I gather, you have a very small fashion cadre in Paris or NYC who make recommendations to a bunch of snobs and celebrities. Then it gets picked up by tabloids like Paris Match, Vogue and National Enquirer. These recommendations then get diluted to the general public (and then eventually,maybe---- with a lot of luck---- to geeks such as yours truly).

I'm just curious to what extent this narrative is true and if we can draw parallels to other fields. In politics, there is a direct parallel but what about other fields?



It would be simply to think it is a matter of might makes right. E.g. Steve Jobs is geek chic therefore if I am geek chic, I'm like Steve Jobs.



But I am not sure that is correct. An indian ph.D was giving a talk at my university on bridging the gap between academia and industry. At one point, she put a lot of emphasis on the "hustle".



Hm. How come a foreigner would use the word hustle? This is prison slang. How can the very lowest strata of American society influence anglosaxon culture to the extent she would use it in this context?



You could think this is logic. Some things in fashion are logical. I have a couple Lacoste shirts from high school that are nigh indestructible. Truly excellent value for the money. I also think that shoes are well worth the money from an orthopedic POV.



On the other hand, in fashion, we have the met gala and you have hairdoe that are meant to resemble helicopters. So clearly practicality may be a factor but not the only factor.



Sadly, we have that there is much more skepticism from the general public toward academia (anti-vaxxers et al) who would rather believe some random facebook page then the CDC.


I wasn't goint to include that point because it is beyond naive, but in true WF fashion, someone is going to say "the trend setters are full of love.FEAR/hatred/the dark side of the force/etc is counterproductive".Sorry, there are plenty of trend setters with very serious moral and character failings who succeed nonetheless.



So in the end who sets the trends?



Thoughts?
#sets #trends
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  • Profile picture of the author jmosticc22
    I am no fashion guru by any means but what I do know concerning sports fashion is that the big time companies launch their new products on their paid athletes months before they sell anything to the public. Take the masters (pro golf) this year, Nike subtlety launched multiple new products mainly because of the attention tiger brings but now they can collect insight and gain information concerning the new products before launching to the public.
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  • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
    I don't think fashion trends are different than any other trend, are they? Social media and advertising play a bigger role today than ever before in establishing trends. Marketing geniuses get paid a lot of money to play with the psychology of the masses.

    It's true celebrities and large companies play a big role in setting trends. They play on the fragile psychology of kids, teenagers and young adults. When it comes to the next generation, there is a fear missing out. Adverts are everywhere for shoes or hats, shirts, bags, phone accessories, headphones, cars etc. The psychological effect is: the more we see something advertised, the more popular it must be.

    When we see just a few people we either respect, admire or socialize with, our brains justify this popularity. Eventually we buy and perpetuate this belief with others around us.

    There's a tipping point that occurs where "everyone" ends up buying the product because they truly don't want to be the "only one" not to have that product.

    I think something similar happens with viral videos. I often see videos pop up in my newsfeeds on various platforms. I rarely watch them in the first exposure. I don't know why, but maybe it just didn't appeal to me that much. However, if I see a few of my friends sharing the same video, my brain says there must be something to this video and I end up watching it.

    Again, I'm not sure if the same analysis can be applied to fashion as I completely do not understand the fashion industry AT ALL. Magazines and websites and BIG fashion companies will say this and that are trending big this year....do you EVER see ANYONE wearing those clothes?? I sure don't. I only see them on fashion models and never on the street.

    The OP mentions high quality shirts and shoes. Does that factor into a trend or that simply a great product and you justify the buy because of value and longevity? A trend means it's popular now, but that won't last forever. A quality product will outlast any trend.

    Anyway, just my opinions. Interesting question.
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  • Profile picture of the author naviown
    The one with the most ad budget. I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Who sets trends?

    Not a specific person.

    Advertising can mold public consciousness. Santa Clause, as we see him now, was invented by Coca Cola.

    But trends? We get lots and lots of ideas, some dies quickly, some die slowly, and some spread. The ones that last long enough to spread far and wide...become a trend. It's "the survival of the fittest" with ideas.

    Picture a flock of birds. See how they move as one huge flock? They change direction almost as one whole. Is it one bird deciding where to go? No. It's one bird, followed by a few...and if enough birds change direction...it becomes the whole flock changing direction.

    But there is no leader, only followers...they are all following the direction they think they flock is going.

    The same with politics, cultures, schools of fish, stories, societies...that's what a trend is.

    Enough people believe something, and it becomes part of the group. And because it's now a popular belief in the group, the rest accept it.

    Everyone wants to be popular and accepted. So we accept and share what we believe everyone else is thinking (at least everyone else in our group.)

    We are conscious, self aware...so we think we behave as individuals. But our need to be accepted...to keep rapport with others.....to be part of a group/team/community is greater than our need to think as individuals.

    Even strong individualists want to be part of a group of strong individualists. So they behave, dress, think..like the group they identify with.

    Humans.
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    • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      But there is no leader, only followers...they are all following the direction they think they flock is going. .

      Dont get me started on this, I call them sheeple and in general people who just follow others will no self direction.


      Some of the latest examples here are

      The Girl Bun (some call it a man bun)

      The Lanyard hanging out of your pocket (I guess with keys attached)

      The bluetooth earpiece (just in case trump calls with a secret mission)

      Guys with torn slits in thier jeans ( trouble working out if they are a girl or boy and that shit phase ended years ago but some are slow, beiber has long passed)

      Gotta have all of your tattoos hanging out. roll you sleeves up or pull ypur pants up (or down) what ever.

      Now if some dood has all of that going at once? super farked up that is and so sad.

      and the list goes on, whenever I see people like this I generally see somebody who can not make a call on thier own, they just copy the latest in thing, sad really, trend ? or inabilty to make your own choices, not sure.
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      • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
        These "trends" remind me of how they probably got started. Have you seen the "Brain Games - Conformity" social test? Warning: it doesn't give much hope for humanity. Youtube clip is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9O9SokTTA8
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

          These "trends" remind me of how they probably got started. Have you seen the "Brain Games - Conformity" social test? Warning: it doesn't give much hope for humanity. Youtube clip is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9O9SokTTA8
          Seen it and many others. This is why hypnosis works, why we accept other people's views as our own. It's why we laugh far more in an audience than we do when alone (watching the same comedian on TV). We think we are individuals, but always act as though we are part of a group.

          Being seen as popular, maintaining rapport with a group (even a group of strangers) is a powerful influence.

          Nobody wants to be seen as "odd". One reason is that in every group, there is eventually a person that can be seen as a leader of the group...and there is eventually one person seen as a common enemy.

          Most people don't want to be the leader...but NOBODY wants to be the common enemy.

          So we strive to be accepted, go along with what the majority think. It's partly fear of rejection, and partly because we assume others know something that we don't.

          And...I feel compelled to say this...

          The person reading this now...yes you...think that I'm talking about other people, as though you are in a group of independent thinkers that aren't influenced by these group dynamics.

          But I mean you too. And me...and all of us. .it's just the way we are.

          Humans.
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          • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
            haha you got me! I was thinking to myself "yes, so many people are like that. I can't believe people can't think for themselves and how easily they are influenced. I'm so glad that I'm not like tha...." Oh wait, he's talking about ME!
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

              haha you got me! I was thinking to myself "yes, so many people are like that. I can't believe people can't think for themselves and how easily they are influenced. I'm so glad that I'm not like tha...." Oh wait, he's talking about ME!

              One small group that is immune from these social pressures to conform is Psychopaths. High functioning psychopaths cannot be hypnotized. It's because they feel no rapport with the hypnotist, and are devoid of the need to let others decide for them. They don't feel camaraderie, a sense of belonging, or the need to be accepted (except as a matter of survival),

              In the video you posted, a high functioning psychopath would break out in laughter when he watched the others behave as a group, because of social pressure from others in the room.
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              • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
                I agree with your first psychopath explanation, but I'm not sure if I agree with the reaction of a psychopath in the same social experiment.

                I don't believe to be any kind of a psychopath, but I feel I would be that guy who laughed at everyone acting stupid! I may even start recording it to post online. I'm very curious how I would react in a similar social experiment.

                The person reading this now...yes you...think that I'm talking about other people, as though you are in a group of independent thinkers that aren't influenced by these group dynamics.
                I'm not saying I'm never influenced by group dynamics. However, something so stupid as standing up in a waiting room when they hear a beep? I don't feel I would be influenced to stand up....UNLESS I saw a direct purpose of doing so...because really, why would a group of people who don't know each other do something like?

                I swear, guys, I'm not a psychopath haha I just don't see myself conforming to something that idiotic in a social setting.
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                • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                  Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

                  I agree with your first psychopath explanation, but I'm not sure if I agree with the reaction of a psychopath in the same social experiment.

                  I don't believe to be any kind of a psychopath, but I feel I would be that guy who laughed at everyone acting stupid! I may even start recording it to post online. I'm very curious how I would react in a similar social experiment.
                  We have the gift of knowing the reason for the experiment.

                  But if it happened to one of us? the odds are about 99% that we would act the same way.

                  The urge to conform is that strong.

                  And...the psychopath wouldn't participate, just because they have no social need to be accepted as part of the group. But it would take someone truly insightful to see that this as an experiment and not something real.
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              • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                High functioning psychopaths cannot be hypnotized. It's because they feel no rapport with the hypnotist, and are devoid of the need to let others decide for them.

                Gotta hope them psychopaths keep 'emselves confined to essential craziness.


                I would not wanna meet no psychopath hypnotist, for sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Really complicated question.....

    Who starts trends is something we can only see after the fact.

    Who "sets" the trend? That would be the 10% or so of the population who likes to try new things. Chet Holmes wrote about these people in his book The Ultimate Sales Machine and talked about it in various venues.

    About 10% of the population or market (he says) likes to try the newest things. These are the people who grab on to something new and make it "trendy." The problem with pandering to this crowd is that they are fickle they are gone as soon as they are here.

    However sometimes the trend holds because the "trendy" get enough of their friends to try something and there is a larger "adoption" by normies.

    For instance; the modern day food truck. It was super trendy but enough normal people liked it that it has stuck around.

    Then there are cupcake shops. They sprung up everywhere and now most are gone and the most of the ones that are still around have expanded their menus.

    But as far as how they start or how to start one? Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Gotta figure any trendsettin' stuffs be as srsly M.I.A. as no conspiracy theories.

    All you gotta figure is an ear to the ground combined with a postyoore don't figure your ass noplace you gonna be kicked as you reflexly bend ovah.

    Trends ain't consciously intended change till sumone figures hey, here's a movement.

    Soon as that happens, evrywan in, I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    I've never been a trend follower, but I thought I would do well to learn about them. I am just curious: in your opinion, who sets popular trends?
    Many times it's People "higher" up in Society. (Like Celebrities for instance.)
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post


    So in the end who sets the trends?

    Thoughts?
    I'm ignorant about fashion. By design.

    I buy really good shoes, expensive even, but could care less what they look like. And clothes? My lifetime goal is to retire to a nudist colony in FL and wear only adult diapers (and I'm not far away from that).

    Trends are, I think, like waves in the ocean, and surfers waiting to catch a good one.

    I don't have a clue as to the WHO sets them, but I have worked for and with several marketers who have CASHED IN on them.

    How? By being jack be nimble and jack be quick.

    Remember the movie TITANIC? For a couple of years, there was a huge Titanic Trend, including fashion, sparked by actress Kate Winslet and for a time, the red carpets of fashion were filled with the Victorian look.

    At the time, I was working for Ben Suarez and in one of the divisions, Special Projects, I worked on some TITANIC things. We knew it was a trend (short lived), and we acted quickly on it. And Ben made another of his fortunes from it.

    Being aware of trends is one thing, being ready to cash in, is quite another, so I would ask the OP,

    how are you planning to cash in on your TREND RESEARCH?

    GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author aduttonater
    Trends are great if using a hash tag. I see it a lot on instagram.
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    You can actually force a trend if you have a large budget. I mean a really large budget.
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  • Profile picture of the author KrRoksana
    People love to follow other people who are more professional in their opinion and who are not afraid to show themselves to the world. That is why blogging is gaining momentum.
    Trends depend on people who can convince others that it's fashionable.
    Each designer has a cultural heritage that helps him create something new. Each generation that is born brings a new vision to the world.
    I'm sure there are people in whom the mission is to create brilliant things for the development of mankind.
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  • Profile picture of the author msulcs
    Trends rise when there's a demand for something. You can influence it by advertising, but some things go viral without any advertising budget because they're new or different/interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author KIRBYTMC
    maybe, the general population. It's organic
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I would suggest there are 2 levels of "Trends" using the fashion industry example... you have the designers that create "fashion" as something to be admired and not so much to be worn. You just don't see "Runway fashion" out and about every day.

    The upper level is all about BRAND - and creating an amount of awareness for SOME.. and just ART for others. The some include Ralph Lauren, or Michael Kors or Armani or Versace... these brands transcend the upper artsy level into the lower level of fashion Trend.

    You then have the lower level of fashion that is actually worn. I have found that fashion and music are dictated by a very under targeted crowd... 12 year old girls. TREND SETTERS are just that. BRANDS that "Trend" will more than likely offer goods that 12 yr olds can buy as well as having adult 25+ sizing.

    Brands like GAP or Abercrombie or Ms. Me, or American Eagle are / were NEVER showing in Paris and NYC... but trended H U G E.

    Fashion is just a very hard nut to crack / understand. I think in many ways it defys logic.

    Step into something such as pop culture say FUNKO POP's and you can see the many things they did right. They created limited edition location specific editions. They obviously monitor "trending" and create figures accordingly. They are by no means afraid to spend money for the licensing to be in the right place at the right time.

    Fidget spinners.. been around for a lot of years before they became THE THING. And then some national teaching organization said hey kids with disorders can have these in school. and it quickly went to if they can have one why cant I? all the way to NO ONE is allowed to have one at this point.

    I think the whole "Sheeple" concept is a bit drastic. Aligning yourself with your peers is pretty normal - at all ages. right down to the restaurants we eat at, or the clothes wee wear, what we drink, where we go.. what we do.
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    • Profile picture of the author socialentry
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      You then have the lower level of fashion that is actually worn. I have found that fashion and music are dictated by a very under targeted crowd... 12 year old girls. TREND SETTERS are just that. BRANDS that "Trend" will more than likely offer goods that 12 yr olds can buy as well as having adult 25+ sizing.


      Interesting and very counter-intuitive.


      How did you reach this conclusion?



      Fashion is just a very hard nut to crack / understand. I think in many ways it defys logic.
      Perhaps fashion is tougher to crack simply because there's no objective way to determine value (or perhaps expertise)
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  • Profile picture of the author KrRoksana
    I think these are people who have power in society. In a way, they could convince their circle of communication and spread their power through the council of other people. Of course, it is necessary that this person was a specialist in industry fines and did something successfully.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaden Wilson
    It's essential for the result to worth the hype. So I think, that big corporations like Mac etc are really into setting fashion trends.
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